Casting The Vision For A New Year

 

A new year! One of my favorite things about beginning a new year, is the chance for a fresh start. A time to reflect on the past and begin casting a vision for a new year. This allows you to look forward to what the next year might bring.

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Casting a vision for a new year. It includes your family.

New Year’s resolutions abound every January.  Do you make any?  I’ve been known to make, and break, a few!

Many resolutions focus on something we can do better, whether it’s losing weight, eating healthier, making more money, or having a better outlook on life.

Instead of focusing solely on what I can improve upon, our family would  focus on where we are as a family and where would we like to be in the future. With an emphasis on relationships within the family unit.

This is the perfect time of year to cast a vision for the future of our family.  It would begin with me writing down areas I felt we were struggled with personally, sibling conflicts, and attitude issues. Then I’d ask my family, “What do we want our family to look like in 5, 10 or 20 years?”  During this time we allowed time to just sit, talk, and dream about that. Over the years the way we have done this has changed, the kids have grown, and life demands increased. But, the vision of our family remained consistent. We wanted to build a close family that loved spending time together, had a heart for the Lord, and their community.

If you have been wondering how to cast a vision for your family and want to include them into the process these sample questions might be just what you need to help you start thinking about the future of your family. As I have learned, these years go by so quickly and if you don’t have a plan it makes getting there a lot harder.

How you can cast a vision for your New Year and your family

These are just to get you thinking:

  • What are some goals you want to achieve personally and as a family?
  • What can you do today to help your family achieve those goals?
  • What path do you see your children going down in their future?
  • How can you help support and encourage them along the way?
  • What strengths can you help them identify?
  • What weaknesses can you help them manage?

Casting a vision is really expectation management, and managing expectations helps us make better choices, so we can achieve the goals we’ve set and follow the paths that we’ve dreamed.  While we can help cast a vision for our children and for ourselves about many aspects of our lives, the start of a new year is the perfect time to dream of the future and set some goals for turning those dreams into realities.

I will be sharing more about casting a vision in many areas of our children’s lives, including friendships, future spouses, and school activities, and in my upcoming book.

Subscribe to this blog today in order to receive advanced notice of the publication details.

And please, let me know in the comments about some of your family’s dreams and goals!

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Building a close family begins with a vision.

Looking Back

Looking-Back

Looking Back

The Spanish moss is swaying gently from the trees as I write this afternoon. I’m sitting in my home, which was once so full of noise, busyness, and activity from homeschooling five children, and I see that what I did during those twenty-one years really mattered. You see, I’ve completed my homeschooling journey. So it is from this place that I share with you.

I remember rising early, before the kids, to exercise, study God’s Word, and pray over my day. I enjoyed that morning cup of coffee—or two—while reviewing my lesson plans, knowing the quiet would not last long. This was the calm before the storm. For when those little feet hit the floor, we would charge full steam ahead into our day.

My house was once messy, with LEGOs, toys, books, and pencils scattered everywhere and laundry that was never “done” for more than an hour. Our days would begin early and end late. (How did we ever find the energy to maintain that pace?)

Now the floor needs vacuuming just once a week, the dishwasher runs may be every three days, and the laundry baskets are mostly empty. I know, Mom, you can’t image that right now. How can you? You’re in the midst of raising your children.

You see all those Pinterest perfect crafts that never really turn out as nicely for you as they do in the picture. Everyone seems to have children who are thrilled to be homeschooled, love doing morning chores, and make their beds first thing. Maybe your days don’t look quite that way. At least mine never did. But that’s okay. For it was on some of our messiest days that the best teaching moments happened.

I know many homeschooling moms feel isolated, alone, and ready to quit. I understand. I did, too! Doing really important work is never easy. And raising and educating our children is really important.

Today my calendar is full of things I choose to schedule. No sports, dance, classes, or music lessons to shuttle kids to. My now-adult children organize and manage their own lives. I stand back and watch in awe and wonder, reflecting on what an amazing journey we took together. And my desire is for you to stand where I am one day, looking back and thinking what an amazing journey you had.

When you retire from homeschooling, it’s not like retiring from the workplace. It’s very different. In the workplace you interact with co-workers, people you spend time with and may even get to know very well. But they are not your family. They might be sad when you leave, or not. But when you retire as a homeschooler, it’s because you’ve completed your work.

Run your race today knowing how very important it is. Those little lives will one day draw from all that you have taught them. You will have given them the strength to hold on during trails, a compass with which to navigate the uncertainties of life, and the courage to be all that God has created them to be.

Stand firm and finish this day well, Mom!

Embracing Your Unique Homeschooling Journey

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Embracing Your Unique Homeschooling Journey

I’m talking over at VibrantHomeschooling.com about Embracing Your Unique Homeschooling Journey. Having completed our journey I can confidently say your family is not designed to be a mirror of someone else’s family. Let them be all that God has for them. You will spare yourself much frustration by building your family according to their strengths. I invite you to read the full post <here>.

5 Secrets to Homeschooling with Success

5 Secrets to Homeschooing with Success

5 Secrets to Homeschooling with Success

School is in full swing! For some of you bad attitudes, resistance and discouragement have already derailed your well thought out schedule. It’s okay. Those days do happen. Especially when you begin the new school year. By focusing on the five secrets that helped me cross the finish line with all five of my children you can get back on track more quickly.

Homeschooling for 21 years has given me a unique perspective. I have experienced the first-time fears and doubts associated with starting something new, worked my way through the high school years, managed five children on different levels, navigated the college admissions process and sent all five off to college.

I want to encourage you as you begin your new year to keep your eye on the end goal. Don’t be short-sighted. Be mindful of the values, character qualities, and academic pursuits you have in mind.

These are five points I intentionally focused on as I began each year:

  • Have and maintain an intense desire to do your best. Parents and students alike cannot give half-effort and expect more in return. I know it can be difficult to stay focused and on top of everything, but when we model doing our best to our children we are helping them develop that same intensity for excellence in life.
  • Have burning sense of urgency. You know time flies by so quickly. If you maintain this urgency, it will help you stay focused. For those of you who have been homeschooling for a while, you know a month is gone in a blink of an eye. Live like this it he last day you will get to teach you children.
  • Define what you want to accomplish. Knowing where you are going will help you stay no to things that would take you off course. Write down what your goals are for each child. Don’t forget your-self as well! Good teacher have personal goals.
  • Be willing to try new adventures. Don’t be afraid. For many of you, this is all new. I have often had to change an approach or curriculum in order to reach our goals. What works for one child might not be the best for you other children.
  • Find the right place. Needs change from year to year. Whether it’s a co-op, support group, group classes, nontraditional school or virtual school, finding the best fit for your family well be beneficial toward your success. Use what works for your family. Thank fully, we have a variety of excellent choices in the homeschooling community.

By purposely putting into practice these five points you will enjoy this year with your child / children and to reach the end excited rather than exhausted. The work you are doing as a homeschool mom is slowly changing the face of our nation.

Run and do not grow weary!

Do Teens Really Have it Easy?

Do Teens Really Have it Easy?

Do Teens Really Have it Easy?

Statistics show parents tend to think their teens have life so easy.  I can see why some would; teens are often given cars, cell phones, computers, and a host of gadgets that connect these relationally driven young people to the world.  Even though they may have more technology most parents just don’t understand the struggles teens face every single day.  I recognize their struggles may not be as complex as what adults have to work through… but to our teen, it’s just as difficult.

Teens are bombarded with information on a continual basis. Yet having the ability to fully process all that comes their way is more than they are usually able to handle.  In some ways, it is like giving a 12 year old the keys to the car when they haven’t learned the rules of the road and can’t see over the dashboard.  They may think they can drive, but I doubt many parents would agree. 

Teens don’t have the processing capabilities that their parents have. While they want to have more and more freedom, they simply might not be ready for it.  

So what’s a parent to do?  I encourage you to try and understand how you can help them! 

I’ve listened to the experts, read reports and articles, and reviewed statistics on just how important You, the parent, is in helping teens mentally and emotionally develop. 

This shouldn’t be any surprise though, because God intended it to be this way.  In fact, there are many places in scripture that speak to the parent’s role of teaching and training their children.

Knowing you have the single greatest influence on your teen’s life means you also have the greatest opportunity to help them grow.  

Do Teens Really Have it Easy?

This easy acronym is what I came up with to help me understand those tough teen years.  I assigned one letter per finger, that way if I could sense conflict coming I could remind myself what I needed to do. 

T- Teach

E- Encourage

E- Engage

N- Nurture

S- Serve

Teach- Teens are learning more complex thinking, reasoning, and processing skills during this time. So while you don’t teach teens the way you did when they were younger, you are still teaching them.  It is more subtle and not as direct.  By this I mean, helping them to understand and even overcome difficult experiences and failures.  They need your input, wisdom and support.  They need you to show them how to get through the difficult challenges in a healthy, biblical manner. 

Encourage- Teens need your encouragement.  As previously stated, you are their single greatest influence in life.  You have the ability to help them achieve big goals as well as overcome major obstacles.  Encouragement is not a pep-rally, it’s deeper than that.  It’s the act of giving someone support, confidence and hope.  I know it can be hard to do this at times, but if you purpose to encourage them you will see a change in your relationship with them. 

Engage- This is very important.  Teens are relational people, which is why all the social technology is so attractive to them.  But with their lack of maturity, this same technology can wield severe damage.  The rejection they encounter can be quite overwhelming and hurtful.  As a parent you need to participant and become involved in their lives.  They want to share their world with someone, so make that someone you. 

Nurture- To nurture is the process of cultivating growth and development, caring for, bringing up, and looking after.  As a parent you need to understand teens feel valued and respected when they are nurtured.  I’m not talking about coddling or hovering, or smothering.  But something different, like allowing them to stretch their wings, make mistakes, take chances, and figure life out all while knowing you are there for them. 

Serve- Yes, I mean serve.  Serving is what we are called to do.  I can’t find anywhere in scripture that tells us to stop serving our teens in order to help them grow up.  Before you react, let me define this.  To furnish or supply with something needed, answer the needs, contribute or conduce, to treat or act toward in a specified way, or to provide a service that benefit or help.  I’m not referring to being someone’s servant or not making teens accept more responsibility.  Accepting more responsibility is a natural part of growing up.  However, it is in being served that our tender teens learn the art of serving others.  By serving this way you are teaching them how to really live a full life — one that is not focused on self.   

No matter where you are in the parenting journey, know that your investment in your family is the greatest work you will ever do. 

If you have teenagers, what have you done to better understand them? Please leave a comment so we can help build stronger families together. 

Read more about parenting teens on my website. 

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